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02-02-2010, 09:12 AM   #1
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FA 31mm Limited - Wedding/Event/Portrait shots?

I've been thinking about getting the FA31 Limited but the recent price increases have made it difficult to justify the cost of it ($1250 CDN + 12% tax = $1400... almost the price of a Canon 35mm F1.4 L lens), and is making it tough to stick with Pentax if I grow.

I'm using my Sigma 30mm F1.4 as my current workhorse lens and it does a great job so far. But I'd love to see if the FA 31 Limited can do an even better job, enough to justify the cost of the lens.

I've been looking all over the internet for wedding/event/portrait shots taken with the lens but the results have been very slim (next to none). I'd love to see some people shots taken with this lens to see if it's is really 3x better than my Sigma 30mm F1.4.

Thanks!

02-02-2010, 01:40 PM   #2
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It isn't 3x better. I presume that what you are alluding to is that the Stigma is a 400.00 lens and so the 31 should be 3x better because it is 3x the price.
Life doesn't work that way.
Having said that, simply by not being a Stigma, the 31 is immeasurably better.
02-02-2010, 06:34 PM   #3
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i'm not sure what else can be said about the FA31. it's pretty sharp wide open, nice bokeh, kind of big.
31mm on APS-C doesn't really seem like a natural focal length for the types of things you are doing. that being said, see the results of Keitha McCall who is a member of this forum as well.

First All-Pentax, All-Prime Wedding (Images Inside) [Page 1]: Pentax SLR Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
02-02-2010, 07:33 PM   #4
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Shot a couple of weddings mostly w/ a FA31 and FA85, this following one has been one of my favorites:



02-02-2010, 09:24 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
It isn't 3x better. I presume that what you are alluding to is that the Stigma is a 400.00 lens and so the 31 should be 3x better because it is 3x the price.
Life doesn't work that way.
Having said that, simply by not being a Stigma, the 31 is immeasurably better.
I actually tried out the 31mm for a few minutes and it was a great lens, but I guess at first I couldn't see too much difference. I think I'll start seeing the difference when I put the 31mm through it's paces. I have a feeling that's when the FA31 leaves the Sigma behind and the monetary difference starts to fade.

I guess I should have rephrased it to say whether the rendering qualities and the image quality, build quality and "feel" of the lens can justify its price.

I know the FA31mm is a thing of beauty. i guess it comes down to me figuring out whether the images that come out of it (and the overall feel for me as a user) are going to be worth the money I put down. Something I've got to figure out.

QuoteQuote:
31mm on APS-C doesn't really seem like a natural focal length for the types of things you are doing. that being said, see the results of Keitha McCall who is a member of this forum as well.
Keitha McCall does some crazy work!
i actually love the 30-35mm range (the APS-C "normal" equivalent focal length). It's my favorite on film and my favorite on digital. It does seem a bit odd-ball, but I guess it really works for me, even for events and weddings. I even have some really nice model shots taken at this focal length too! The sigma's "bulge" does not bode well for shots with straight lines, but it's otherwise very good.
If only Pentax made a full frame digital... *sigh*

QuoteQuote:
Shot a couple of weddings mostly w/ a FA31 and FA85, this following one has been one of my favorites:
Neat shot. Looks like it was cropped?
02-02-2010, 10:53 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
Shot a couple of weddings mostly w/ a FA31 and FA85, this following one has been one of my favorites:


Great shot Frank
02-03-2010, 11:41 AM   #7
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For a wedding I shot last Fall. On the whole I used my DA*16-50 more to keep up with the action, but when things calmed down it was great to have the FA31 and FA77 around to capture more creative shots. Next wedding I do I think I may try to put a FA31 on one camera and a FA77 on the other and see if I even need to use other lenses that much.

A few FA31 wedding shots.













[Film]



02-03-2010, 11:57 AM   #8
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Also, while I'm here, here are a few event/portrait shots I've done for newspapers with the FA31. Hope this helps.










02-03-2010, 01:14 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote
...snip...
I've been looking all over the internet for wedding/event/portrait shots taken with the lens but the results have been very slim (next to none). I'd love to see some people shots taken with this lens...
Thanks!
Just go to my Pbase page (www.pbase.com/axl_kollar) and have a look at: Gosia and Zuzka & Marek galleries. There is a quite few shots taken by 31ltd.
If you'd want to see more, let me know, I'll post some here


BR
Peter
02-03-2010, 11:19 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by dugrant153 Quote

Neat shot. Looks like it was cropped?
Thanks. Yes, it's cropped so to remove some distractions on the top and bottom

QuoteOriginally posted by nulla Quote
Great shot Frank
Thanks.
02-03-2010, 11:23 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Urkeldaedalus Quote
For a wedding I shot last Fall. On the whole I used my DA*16-50 more to keep up with the action, but when things calmed down it was great to have the FA31 and FA77 around to capture more creative shots. Next wedding I do I think I may try to put a FA31 on one camera and a FA77 on the other and see if I even need to use other lenses that much.

A few FA31 wedding shots.


...


Excellent series!
02-03-2010, 11:47 PM   #12
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I've never done a planned event such as a wedding with it but I do think it's a great people lens in the candid arena..

02-04-2010, 12:45 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by JeffJS Quote
For all we know, that could've been taken with a ten year old compact camera.

From downsampled images we can study the quality of the bokeh, the overall contrast (which could be low, wide open with fast lenses) and resistance to flare. We haven't learned anything from your photo.
02-04-2010, 01:08 AM   #14
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I was just some pixel peeping on some picture I took between the FA31 and my Sigma 30mm (while testing it in a store) and noticed that while the Sigma holds its own very well, when you look at the fine details the FA31 simply blows it away. this is not so noticeable in the center but gets pretty noticeable at the extreme edges. In the FA31 pic I could read the film box, but the Sigma pic blurred it (extreme edge of the frame).

For portraits and pics where the edge is blurred out anyways, I don't think this is a big deal. And web sized pics and even full screen pics on my monitor look more or less the same... so at about 8x11 size, I think there is no noticeable difference. However, at poster size I think you'll see detail from FA31 shots and blurred detail from the Sigma shots.

I'll definitely have to take this lens out for a spin. I think if the application is simply portraits and bokeh/DOF, then the Sigma would be a definite winner for the price. It seems that if you want portraits, bokeh/DOF, detail, build quality and a whole lot more... well... can't beat the FA31.

hmm...

Last edited by dugrant153; 02-04-2010 at 01:14 AM.
02-04-2010, 07:43 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by frank Quote
Excellent series!
Thanks!

QuoteQuote:
I was just some pixel peeping on some picture I took between the FA31 and my Sigma 30mm (while testing it in a store) and noticed that while the Sigma holds its own very well, when you look at the fine details the FA31 simply blows it away. this is not so noticeable in the center but gets pretty noticeable at the extreme edges. In the FA31 pic I could read the film box, but the Sigma pic blurred it (extreme edge of the frame).
I think you're right with your observation here. The FA31 is probably the superior lens, but the difference between it and other, more affordable lenses like the Sigma, is a bunch of small improvements rather than one big improvement. If you can take a photo with the Sigma, it won't automatically be a better photo with the FA31. You'll just get more consistent results over time.

I would add that in addition to noticing the difference in printing environments, the extra detail can come in handy when you're editing your photos, in situations like cropping, etc.

It was interesting that you mentioned the Canon 35 1.4L in your first post, because the images from the FA31 really remind me of images I've seen from that lens and the Canon 24 1.4L. It's hard to compare directly, since most of the images you see from those two lenses are on full frame cameras, but the point is, there's probably a reason these lenses are all above $1,000. Too bad the FA31 doesn't have that nice silent ring motor

I suggest if you decide to get a FA31, you wait to buy one used. If you can get one for say, $800-900, then sell your Sigma for say $300, that's just $500 you're spending. Much better than $1,400
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